Beam Reaching

Date: Aug. 15, 2016, 4 a.m. Position: 11 29.50 S, 102 25.32 E

We spent the whole day and night beam reaching in 15-18 knots of wind. It was perfect sailing, other than the fact that we had to keep all the hatches and portholes battened down as the spray shot over the rails. Any time the wind is on the beam or forward of the beam, it can get stifling hot down below in the cabin in the middle of the day. Today was no exception, as we are still only 11 degrees away from the Equator. We clocked out a whopping 165 miles since yesterday’s noon, and I feel a bit better about our approach to Cocos Keeling now.

I can’t believe the amount of plastic we are seeing in the Indian Ocean. At any one point, within one boat-length of us, a flipflop or oil can or plastic bag will drift by the hull. We passed through a few garbage gyres where I could see about 500 separate chunks of plastic floating within view on the horizon. Truly, the ocean has become completely saturated with plastic–it is a witness-less tragedy. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that we’re still relatively close to Indonesia. It’s a strange feeling, being this far out here, and seeing manmade objects everywhere you look. Akin to skiing to the South Pole and finding a field of Snicker’s bar wrappers and bottle-caps there, I suppose.

We’ve been using the electric tiller-pilot in lieu of the Monitor these past two days, in order to save wear and tear on our jury-rigged repair of the broken Monitor bracket. The tiller pilot complained a but today, however, and decided to unscrew itself both at the end-cap tiller attachment point and also inside the unit at the recirculating ball-screw drive. Both detachments required a quick “all hands on deck” moment. Kelsey quickly plopped Taz into his high-chair with a jar of applesauce, and took the helm while I set up the Monitor vane and fixed the electric tiller pilot. We’re back to using the Monitor now, but I am unhappy with the bracket still–there’s a bit of deflection that will eventually lead to another failure in the future. Our friends on the “Beguine” are sailing two spare brackets to us in Cocos Keeling, but in the meantime I may try to rig up a more solid turning block attachment by bolting the blocks directly to the caprail. Ahh, the joys of circumnavigating…

We’re really looking forward to Cocos Keeling! It’s one of those places we dreamed about as we planned our voyage route. We’ll use our time there to rest up and put Privateer in top shape for the big sail across the Indian Ocean to Rodrigues.

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